Sunday, June 10, 2012

Going under the bus?

During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama enjoyed an unprecedented level of support from the majority of the mainstream media - print and television.  There was little due diligence or investigative reporting done into the background of Barack Obama.  What new media uncovered was largely ignored.  The result was a person who was about as hard left as any Presidential candidate we've seen was allowed to present himself as a moderate centrist to the American electorate.

In this election cycle, the general perception is that he will continue to get substantial support from much of the mainstream media - which leans towards progressive politics.  Any pretense towards objectivity is non-existent in many media outlets - with the President of CBS News, while attending an Obama campaign fundraiser, going so far as to admit 'Partianship is very much a part of journalism now...'.

This is an interesting election cycle in many ways.  We have perhaps the clearest options in terms of the vision for the country since 1980.  Barack Obama and his progressive hard left base is advocating bigger government, more government spending, higher taxes all in the name of 'social justice' and 'fairness'.  Mitt Romney, the Tea Party, and conservatives are advocating the exact opposite - smaller government, lower taxes, and encouraging the private sector and individual responsibility.

Working against the President and his vision is his record over the last 42 months - and in particular the decisions made in the first 2 years in office when he enjoyed a substantial majority in Congress.  In partnership with that Democrat Congress, the President embarked down the classical Keynesian economic path. 

Spending increased....

Particularly towards entitlements and additional government services. 

Deficits and debt has skyrocketed.

Employment has stagnated.

The failed recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) was a referendum within that state about which of the two visions - that of bigger government and public sector unions versus smaller government and ending the ability of these public sector unions to suckle on the teat of the taxpayer.  Using the same word that the Washington Post used to describe Obama's 7 point margin of victory in 2008, Walker won 'DECISIVELY' when his recall was defeated by 7 points.

This puts the media in a dilemma. Their progressive vision is suffering - not only here in the US, but in Europe.  But what to do about it?  Ignore the results and continue to press for Barack Obama and his policies - saying as Paul Krugman does, that the challenges faced with this vision are the result of not applying the vision enough?  Or does one do what Barack Obama has done so often - throw one under the bus (for the greater good) and move on?

Barack Obama's reelection bid will be toast if the media decides that in the greater good of their progressive dogma, Barack Obama needs to be tossed under the bus - assigning the blame for the problems of their vision on his implementation - not on the fundamental flaws of the vision.

After a succession of bad weeks - culminating in this past very bad week, could this be the first sign that the mainstream media is contemplating tossing Barack Obama under the bus?

This is the front page of today's Washington Post.  The central story - Barack Obama's 'uneasy alliance' with key elements of his base.

What is interesting about this article is what happens when one reads between the lines about the President's interactions with these elements of his base - without which, he would be unable to win in 2012 and would not have won in 2008.

Obama’s body stiffened, according to several witnesses, and he started to argue with them. If they wanted meaningful change, he said, they should focus their pressure on the Republicans in Congress who opposed reform, not on him. He was with them but could only do so much. “I am not a king,” he said.

That night a group of Hispanic lawmakers came to the White House. They, too, were coming to talk about immigration, and after hearing about the earlier confrontation, the lawmakers were bracing for another argument. Instead, they encountered a president in a reflective mood, almost contrite.

“Look who I am,” Obama said, as several guests recalled. He reminded them that as a black man he had experienced discrimination in his life and understood “what it feels like for people to not be treated fairly.”

Even with dealing with these key support groups, it's all about him - demonstrating more of his narcissistic behavior. There is also an arrogance in his approach - a combination of being thin skinned and unable to take any criticism. Being contemptuous towards those who disagree with him, and unable to take accountability or responsibility for his actions and their effects. Blame someone else, not me - like the Republicans in Congress.

Even the writers see this, and try to spin it positively...
He drops the formalities of his position and the familiar rhetoric of his speeches, revealing a president willing to speak personally and candidly to his allies, and also one who can be thin-skinned, irritable, even sarcastic and hectoring if his motives or tactics are questioned. He talks about his own ethnicity, his immigrant roots, his political high wire as a black president with a Muslim middle name — and then seems surprised when advocates who took deep inspiration from his election nevertheless question his commitment to their causes.

Again, it's all about him - and the shock / dismay that someone may question his policies or actions. This is leadership?

Obama looked taken aback by the direct confrontation from Salas and then turned to aides seated against the wall, according to several participants. The aides affirmed that, yes, criminals were the priority.

Turning back to Salas, Obama asked: “What do you want me to do, not enforce the law?” He explained that he could not just ignore laws he didn’t like.

The president spoke sternly. Several participants described him as defensive. One person said that, at times, Obama was “pissy.”

Then there is the obvious hypocrisy. He explains he can't just ignore laws he doesn't like - yet how many times in the last 3 years has the President done just this? Ignoring our immigration laws. DOMA. Fast and Furious. War Powers Act. This is more of the say one thing and do another that is commonplace for Barack Obama.

Throughout the article, there are the observations of his closest aide, Valerie Jarrett. With her participation, on the face of this, the article is supposed to present the President in a sympathetic light - to show the level of efforts that the President is trying to work - and the moderation of his viewpoint. That Barack Obama is not just responding to the 'radical' demands of his progressive base...but that the goals of this base around 'social justice' are not being fully obtained because of others - not the President. It is as if this is an appeal to that base to not abandon the President...that he is doing all that he can.

But with all of that - this does not present the President in a positive light. The article highlights the President's challenges caused by his personality traits of narcissism, arrogance, ego, haughtiness, and self-absorption. We see someone who has a problem with compromising - seeing compromise as when his opponent drops their position and signs onto Barack Obama's position. We also see someone who wants to be perceived as being accountable and responsible - but unwilling to accept being accountable and responsible particularly when it doesn't work out the way he wants it to.

We see the President treat his base, his allies, without very much difference than he treats Republicans in Congress. The only thing missing is the contemptuous, "I won". Instead it's the whine, "What do you want me to do, not enforce the law?"

Is this the first real sign that the mainstream media and other elements of the progressive base are turning on Barack Obama?

Are they in the process of tossing him under the bus in order to prevent the discrediting of their ideological vision?  That the problem is Barack Obama as opposed to the vision?

If the President continues to have more bad weeks, if the polls continue to reflect that the President is very vulnerable in November, he may join that crowd under the bus.

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